Chapter 9: Who is Lying?
Translator: MintCatnip Editor: Chrissy
Xiang Wan was bewildered.
Bai Muchuan lit a cigarette and took a puff slowly. “Nobody can confirm all that you’ve said.”
His eyelids were half-closed. His long, upturned eyelashes cast a mysterious shadow over his eyes. Xiang Wan’s heart was drumming with unease over his words.
“I don’t understand,” muttered Xiang Wan.
“Cat abuse, and the woman who resembled Er Niu,” said Bai Muchuan. He tapped on the laptop with his slender finger holding the cigarette. “And this deleted comment. The novel hosting website of your book, Wen Quan Book Treasury, only the author has the right to delete the comment?”
“No, no, no! Administrators who have been verified by the website has the right to do so as well.”
Bai Muchuan’s eyebrows creased. He did not retort.
At this time, Huang He called back. The answer was within expectations.
The ID of that comment was applied using a mobile phone number, however, the phone number was not verified with a real name. Nothing else was found.
Bai Muchuan took the mouse and looked at that comment twice while on the phone. “Got it.”
Apparently, Huang He did not know that Xiang Wan was beside his boss. “Boss, I feel that Tang Yuanchu is right about one thing,” he suggested solemnly. “No matter if Xiang Wan is the murderer or not, but she must be the breach of the case. We should immediately hold her in custody, interrogate her, and pry open her mouth. In the beginning, I thought this woman is quite simple. But when we think it over, she seems to be bullsh*ting around?”
I was even choking a chicken! Xiang Wan cussed in her head.
Staring at Bai Muchuan’s emotionless face, Xiang Wan gave a sudden sneer.
“If I’m the murderer, why would I do all these things and trap myself in a cage? I will not even tell the police all these things. I’ll just wait for the police to give a conclusion directly, instead of getting enmeshed in my own web! Detective Bai, as the Captain of the Criminal Investigation Unit, even if you can’t solve the case, you’ll still need the most fundamental logic reasoning.”
Xiang Wan was actually a girl who may look mentally strong but was actually weak.
She was afraid of many things. She feared ghosts, feared the police, and was afraid of getting into trouble.
That was why she lowered her stance, listened to the police, and tried her best to cooperate on solving the case.
At this moment, however, she could not hold back anymore. The words she said were full of sarcasm.
Bai Muchuan looked at her bloodshot eyes, his voice low and calm. “Inferencing is what you authors like. The police are only concerned about clues and evidence.”
Xiang Wan took a deep breath.
Alright! It’s useless to wrangle with the police, she thought.
She moved the laptop over, entered her private QQ chat group, and started typing in front of Bai Muchuan.
“All of you come out!”
It was silent inside the group.
They don’t have the guts to face her because they lied? she thought.
“Let’s clear this out.” Xiang Wan gritted her teeth as her fingers rapidly danced on the keyboard. “When I sent the plot outline, didn’t all of you see it? Didn’t someone mention that cat lovers love cute cats and can’t accept cruelty to cats in response to my plot outline?
“So now everyone’s a mute? Try saying it again that none of you have seen it?”
Inside the QQ chat group, the screen was filled with only what she wrote.
After a long time or so, one of them finally replied, “Xiang Gongzi, sorry…”
Xiang Wan’s pen name was “Xiang 1 Gongzi Wan”, a very cool pen name. As the female reader appear to be weak in her reply, Xiang Wan thought the reader must have felt guilty and her anger subsided by half. “Alright, why are you saying sorry?”
“The version I saw is the same as the published online version,” claimed the female reader, “and I’ve never said anything about cruelty to cats.”
Xiang Wan felt that her brain was clogged. “What the heck?”
“I’ve provided all the chat records in my computer to the police,” the female reader had an adamant stance. “Xiang Gongzi, if this matter has nothing to do with you, the police will prove your innocence sooner or later. If it’s you, turn yourself in…”
Blah, blah, blah…
As soon as the reader talked about that, another two readers appeared and started a serious and profound lecture about law and order.
Xiang Wan was devastated.
She turned her head as if she had just seen a ghost, her dilated eyes staring at Bai Muchuan as she pointed angrily at the laptop.
Bai Muchuan glanced at her agitated face. “You’re trying to say that the five of them are lying and framing you?” said Bai Muchuan, totally unperturbed. “I remember that in your statement with us, you said they’re so close to you online as if they’re your sisters.”
Well, Xiang Wan had previously thought so.
However, looking at the suddenly quiet QQ group, her mind was in a turmoil, completely unable to understand why they had a sudden change in behavior.
“… Must it be either them or me who’s lying?”
This question was almost childish.
Yet Bai Muchuan did not laugh at her nor answered her.
He stood up gracefully while slowly slipping his hands into his pockets. “Think it over carefully, what else have you not told me? Of course, you can also make up a story that is more in line with the detective’s logic reasoning, and find evidence to back up your claim so we can believe you.”
There was silence.
Xiang Wan kept quiet for 10 seconds, her eyes locked at him. “Detective Bai, you know very well that I did not kill anyone, right?” ”
Her assumption was original and daring.
Bai Muchuan did not answer but went straight out of the room.
Xiang Wan did not know if this person was born with this “tsundere 2 ” attribute in him. He could have admitted it outright and communicated with her on the case, but he refused to do so. Although she was not a popular mystery fiction author, but she did possess at least basic logic thinking.
Which moron will allow a murderer to stay at his own house?
Xiang Wan sat on her sofa for a while before Nanny Li came into her room.
“Miss Xiang, dinner is ready.”
This was a nanny who was concerned about others’ feelings. She saw Xiang Wan’s dejected expression and tried to console her.
“Young Master Bai is having dinner too. Didn’t young people like you always say that there’s no conflict that a meal cannot solve? If it’s really not solved, then eat two meals together. Have a good talk with Young Master Bai during dinner. He may look fierce, but he actually has a good temper.”
Xiang Wan: “?”
Is this nice auntie talking about Bai Muchuan? she thought.
Bai Muchuan was really in the dining room.
He sat at one side of the table with a nice upright, gentlemanly posture.
The dishes on the table did not look as glamorous as imagined, but simple and beautiful. Every dish was similar to a piece of artwork with bright colors and originality. They looked very nutritious as well as delectable.
Xiang Wan was almost drooling…
Eating with a detective on the same table made her feel a little nervous. She gave a light cough and looked at Bai Muchuan’s sitting posture. “Detective Bai has served the army before?”
Bai Muchuan stopped eating and lifted his head.
And then—that was all, he continued eating.
Xiang Wan’s attempt to ease the atmosphere failed, and felt a little awkward. The bowl of rice she was holding felt so heavy as if they weighed a thousand jin. She finally lost her temper at Detective Bai who supposedly had a”good temper”.
“Detective Bai, if the police has not officially issued a warrant to take me into custody, you can’t take any criminal coercive measures against me, and have absolutely no right to forcefully keep me inside, your, house…”
Bai Muchuan raised an eyebrow. “So?”
Xiang Wan put down her bowl and chopsticks. “Thank you for your hospitality. I have to go now.”
When Xiang Wan came out of the neighborhood where Bai Muchuan was staying, it was raining outside.
She did not have an umbrella. She was hugging her laptop bag as she glanced at the yellow light of the street lamp under the rain, feeling a little regret over her impulsiveness.
No matter what, she should have eaten her fill before she left!
On a rainy night like this, which place was safe enough for her to go?
Pedestrians were rushing in haste under the rain.
Standing alone under a billboard, Xiang Wan hesitated for quite a while before dialing Fang Yuanyuan’s number.
True enough, it was a really unwise move.
As soon as Fang Yuanyuan heard that she had been “liberated”, Xiang Wan could hear her loud, cheering laughter coming clearly from her phone.
“This is great news! We still have time! I nearly got my head blown up bearing with youngest aunt’s lecturing! She refused to believe anything that I’ve said, so you must get to Ocean Sky Hotpot before seven o’clock, or she’ll sever relations with us…”
Is she serious? exclaimed Xiang Wan in her head.
Both Xiang Wan and Fang Yuanyuan were a little fearful of their youngest aunt.
This was because since young, their youngest aunt had been helping out both of their mothers in the financial aspect. Moreover, their youngest aunt was really concerned about Xiang Wan’s important episode in life—finding a good man and getting married.
“Doll yourself up and dress nicely. Youngest aunt’s attitude is very firm this time. I think it must be because the other party’s a good catch. You need to grab ahold of this opportunity. After all, you’re already a few decades old…”
“Holy sh*t!” Xiang Wan growled and clenched her teeth at her cousin. “Let me remind you, Miss Fang Yuanyuan, you’re only younger than me by three… months.”
“Didn’t you already know that my birth year on my household registration is wrong because of schooling reasons? Big sister Xiang, I’m younger than you by one year and three months…”
Xiang Wan hang up the phone, looked at her clothes, and frowned—she had been wearing that for two days.
Her rented apartment was just across the street. The time was five plus in the evening, and she thought it should be fine to go back for a while?
After taking the pedestrian crossing, Xiang Wan walked past the bus stop and paused for a little while before she turned to take the small alley leading toward her rented apartment.
On that day, she was also standing at this spot when she saw a woman who resembled Er Niu inside a car.
Was it really just her illusion? Where did that sense of familiarity come from then?
… She had never seen Er Niu in person.
… How similar would the photograph be compared to the actual person?
… Who could prove that she was not lying?
… Xiang Wan started to doubt herself.
… She even wondered if her brain had been controlled by someone else.
… Could it be that she was really the one who was lying and not the others?
She was stunned by all these strange and wild thoughts of hers. The rhythm in her heart suddenly accelerated.
Both sides of the alley had old residential buildings of around six or seven stories. The buildings were closely spaced between one another, and the small alley was long and narrow. The lights lined by the alley were as dim as always. In the middle of the alley, there was an approximate 90 degree turn.
The rain was getting heavier, so there was hardly any other pedestrian in the alley. Xiang Wan treaded on the wet path, looking at her own alternating feet as she moved forward. She listened to her own footsteps on the path, feeling an unexplainable sense of tension within her nerves. Her heart was pounding strongly like a drum, and she turned around to look behind, out of reflex.
There was no one but her.
She quickened her pace, walking faster and faster!
She was almost sprinting…
“Ah!” An unidentified object fell from the sky as a scream rang in the rain.
The object fell to the ground, brushing past her shoulder by a few inches.
Xiang Wan felt a heavy thump in her heart.
Looking down, splinters of a ceramic flowerpot were scattered around her feet.
The remnant soil was permeated by the rain and became muddy stains on the ground. The bloody red little daisy petals were also scattered on the ground.
Xiang Wan was horrified.
Xiang Wan felt as if she had been cast an “immobilization” spell. Her heart was pounding violently as she slowly looked up with her stiff neck toward the residential building on the right side of the alley. The old awning hung from the windows of every household blocked the rain from entering and seemingly merged with the sky…
Her pupils shrunk abruptly.
On the fourth floor of the building, by a window, stood a dark shadow…